Young Lady with Hat decorated with Cherries

by Jean Louis Forain

£25,000

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 25.0 x 21.0 in/ 63.5 x 53.34 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed and inscribed
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 4553 Categories: ,

This painting, which cleverly combines a loose and Impressionistic aesthetic with Realist elements, is by the famous French Modernist Jean-Louis Forain. The painting is a sketchy portrait of a young woman with an angular face and slim neck. The picture looks almost unfinished, using loose brushstrokes. But the hazy background and outer details make the canvas look as though it is coming to life. This is combined with the striking realism of the woman’s face, which engages with the viewer as she looks out of the picture space.

Provenance

Dr. R.A. Kling Collection, circa December 1966;
Marlborough Gallery, New York;
partial label from University of Southern California with Wildenstein written on frame twice;
Estate of Paul & Carole Cramer, Bel Air

 

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Biography

Jean Louis Forain was born in Reims, Marne. When he was eight, his family moved to Paris where he grew up surrounded by the burgeoning Paris art scene. He had a natural flare for drawing, and as a young man, began his career as a caricaturist for numerous Paris journals, including Le Monde Parisien and Le Rire Satirique. He then enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and studied under the well-known painter Jean-Léon Gérome and the sculptor-cum- painter Jean Baptiste Carpeaux. Forain was known for his quick, sharp wit, allowing him to become friends with poets like Athur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, and many other writers and artists. He was one of Rimbaud’s ‘seven known recipients’ who were given a First Edition of A Season in Hell. Forain was also the youngest artist to be included in the feverish debates led by Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas at the Café des Nouvelles Athènes in Montmartre – the centre of artistic debate and activity in the early 1900s.

 

Forain became one of Degas’ protégés, and was welcomed into the Impressionists’ circle. In 1879 he took part in the fourth exhibition of the ‘Salon des Indépendents’– the yearly exhibition organised by artists who wanted to rebel against the Paris Academy and its traditions. Following that, he participated in numerous Impressionist exhibitions and amalgamated Impressionist techniques of colour and light into his drawings and paintings, to great effect. He focused on themes of emerging Modernity; the racetrack, the ballet, opera and café culture. Artists at this time were fascinated by the new way of life that had been afforded to working class people thanks to industrialisation. Forain continued to produce caricatures throughout his life, and is considered to be the most famous caricaturist of the Belle époque. He worked continuously for Le Figaro and for the weekly French magazine Psst!

 

In 1892 the first volume of La Comédie Parisienne was published. It was a collection of Forain’s illustrations with commentary on the major political stories that disrupted France’s Third Republic—such as the anarchic crisis and the Dreyfus affair. In 1891 Forain married the painter Jeanne Bosc with whom he had a son, Jean-Loup, born in 1895.

 

During the First World War, Forain’s illustrations honoured the patriotism of his contemporaries; and he enlisted in the Section de Camouflage under Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola. In his later years, Forain created numerous scenes of the Law Courts and other Parisian institutions and social satire caricatures of late 19th and early 20th century French life. In 1931, shortly before his death, he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He was one of France’s best known and revered artists during his time and may best be remembered for his numerous drawings chronicling and commenting on Parisian city life at the end of the 19th century. Followers and admirers of Forain’s work include Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Since his death, Forain’s work has been exhibited and sold worldwide, and his name holds great acclaim. This is an excellent opportunity to own a piece of an important Impressionist artist’s oeuvre, and a piece of French history from the sharpest satirist of the time.

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